Suicide rates across the nation have been continually rising at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 47,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017. What is less known, however, is that the elderly living in long-term care facilities are particularly prone to suicidal ideations and attempts. The rate of suicide among the elderly has skyrocketed to the point that other institutions have taken notice and made an effort to further research the issue.
According to University of Michigan researchers, roughly one long-term care resident dies by suicide every day. While this number is distressingly high, researchers estimate it is likely much higher, as accurate records are not always kept regarding suicides in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. To make matters worse, one-third of all long-term care residents have reported thoughts of suicide, which heightens their risk of succumbing to this tragedy.
In fact, between 2003 and 2015, University of Michigan researchers found that of all the suicides committed by those 55 years or older, 2.2% were directly related to long-term care.